Don’t Fear the Fats: Especially in Plant Milks

Have you ever seen “a fat-free food” labeled on the candy bag?

It seems a little comical these days. If there is one thing we’ve learned in the past couple decades, it’s that not all fat is bad. There was a period when it was almost vilified (and lots of sugar was OK). Experts have since assured us that there is such a thing as healthy fats after all.

Now, it’s difficult to sit here and write you a healthy fats list. Or say exactly what this or that food will do for you. But we can make some broad judgments about the “good” and “bad” of fats. And we’re proud to say that most plant milks – and particularly those made by Elmhurst® 1925 – fall under “good.”

What are good fats?

The hierarchy of fats, from worst to best, is:

1. Trans fat. This industrially processed fat – often identifiable by the word “hydrogenated” – has been an institution of deep fryers everywhere. Now everyone from the FDA to World Health Organization agrees that it’s just plain bad.1 You don’t have to worry so much about avoiding trans fats anymore, though. They’ve been banned by the FDA except in trace amounts.2

Elmhurst: All of our products have zero grams trans fat.

2. Saturated fat. The most identifiable difference between saturated and unsaturated fat is that saturated is solid at room temperature, while unsaturated is liquid. Scientifically, this has to do with hydrogen atoms. Practically, saturated fats have been connected to “bad” LDL cholesterol and sometimes heart disease.3 The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that one get no more than 6 percent of daily calorie intake from saturated fats (120 calories).4

Elmhurst: Saturated fat content does not exceed 1.5 grams per serving in any product.

3. Unsaturated fat. This is where the good stuff lives. The AHA recommends converting one’s diet to these fats – found in fish, vegetables, nuts, and certain fruits – in order to lower cholesterol (the not-so-good LDL kind).5 It may be no coincidence that many foods rich in unsaturated fats are foundational to the so-called Mediterranean diet, which studies have connected to longevity.6

There are two types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. The difference has to do with chemical bonds and hydrogen, but both are considered good. Many nuts are predominantly sources of monounsaturated fat, for instance almonds and hazelnuts. Polyunsaturated fats are your Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. You will get these from walnuts and peanuts.3

Elmhurst: A vast majority of fat in Elmhurst products is unsaturated. Our nut milks are particularly good sources, including Milked Walnuts™ with 1400mg ALA Omega-3 per serving.

In summary, fat is not only OK – it’s essential. Don’t be afraid of the calories if they’re the right kind. Elmhurst draws its nutrition from plant sources rich in the better stuff. Check out Elmhurst’s full range of nut-based options.

1 U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “Final Determination Regarding Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat),” 5-18-18

2 Sabrina Tavernise, “F.D.A. Sets 2018 Deadline to Rid Foods of Trans Fats,” New York Times, 5-16-15

3 WebMD, “What Types of Fat Are in Food?,” 4-19-7

4 American Heart Association, “Saturated Fat,” 6-1-15

5 American Heart Association, “The Skinny on Fats,” 4-30-17

6 Mayo Clinic, “Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan,” 11-3-17

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